Thanks for all the kind words y’all have sent regarding the blogs. Glad everyone is enjoying the updates!
We’re now at Day 4: First day of the conference. Sort of. The conference didn’t officially kick off until that evening, and I arrived at the hotel at 11 a.m. Hubby flew back to the East Coast and the shuttle driver (note: not Vladimir this time!) dropped me off at the downtown Marriott on the way.
To my delight, my hotel room was ready despite check-in not being until 3 p.m. I was so overjoyed that I accidentally bumped my large luggage bag into someone. After apologizing and moving forward in line, I realized the woman I bumped was a literary agent who’d rejected my first book. While conferences are a great networking opportunity, I didn’t think my clumsiness lent itself to being the ideal introductory moment. However, I did meet her in the elevator the next day, and she didn’t harbor any ill will about being a luggage target.
After getting settled, I hopped on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to go to Oakland. My best friend from high school lives there, so I spent the afternoon having lunch with her, her hubby and their adorably cute new baby. Friendships which span a lifetime are rare. What surprises me even more is that despite time, life, and 3000 miles between us, visiting with her was like being back in high school, like we hadn’t been apart for more than one school day. There are moments of closeness and busy times when we lose touch, but it’s always the sign of a true connection if you can pick up where you left off, no matter how much time/distance has past both of you by.
The visit was wonderful and at the end of the afternoon, they dropped me back off at BART and I returned to the hotel for the literacy book signing, the official start of the conference with over 500 authors signing books to raise money for literacy. I was able to meet one my favorite authors, Melissa Marr, and chat with her briefly. I attempted to say hello to an ole favorite, Sherrilyn Kenyon, but her table was surrounded by crowds of people, all dressed in black and paranormal attire. The book signing raised over $50,000 for literacy, and a good time was had by all.
The next morning, the conference kicked off with a motivational speaker and world-renowned pianist, Theresa Behenna. She was amazing. Her presentation was part motivational speech, part entertainment on the piano. At one point, she mentioned she’d met Roger Moore when playing piano in Europe, and he always requested her to play, “Georgia on My Mind.”
Confession: Despite living in Georgia, I’ve never liked that song. Until I heard her rendition of it. I didn’t know sounds could be extracted from piano keys like that. She must have had Janis Joplin and every blues musician pumping through her veins, because it was the jazziest, most energetic, most FUN version of the song I’d ever heard. Her motivational speeches were also the ideal start to a conference where we focus on attaining our goals as writers.
Stay tuned for: Best seminars, some famous speakers, and unique experiences.